A few years ago I scanned all of Dave Sim's notebooks. He had filled 36 notebooks during the years he created the monthly Cerebus series, covering issues #20 to 300, plus the other side items -- like the Epic stories, posters and prints, convention speeches etc. A total of 3,281 notebook pages detailing his creative process. I never really got the time to study the notebooks when I had them. Just did a quick look, scanned them in and sent them back to Dave as soon as possible. So this regular column is a chance for me to look through those scans and highlight some of the more interesting pages.
Cerebus issues #164 to 187 are covered in Dave Sim's eighteenth notebook. It covers a lot of a lot of ground: from November 1992 to October 1994, from Women to Reads, during Dave's time on Todd McFarlane's Spawn, the Campaign 1993, Cerebus #0, and a few other things that didn't make the cut. Like this sketch of Cerebus with a stubble, a glass of JD, sweat stains in his arm pit, and a cigarette in his mouth:
|Notebook 18 page 19|
"To paraphrase Butch Cassidy 'I'm an aardvark with a vision and the rest of the world's wearing bifocals."
On the next page of the notebook is a sketch of a particular character that we've seen before, here he is called "The Medici of Integrity" with a sub-title of "Knowing what came from where".
|Notebook 18 page 29|
On the next page we find out that Cerebus loves Cleveland. Who knew? Cerebus even has some knowledge of people from Cleveland and people who must've lived in Cleveland at the time.
|Notebook 18 page 30|
Then way up on page 259 - this notebook had 300 pages according to the cover, but I only scanned 260 pages, it was missing 31 pages and had 9 blank pages in total (if you're curious: 261, 262/263, 264/265, 266/267, 268/269. Yes, I logged everything I could when scanning the notebooks.) - we see the cover for "The Cerebus Annual".
|Notebook 18 page 259|
It says The Cerebus Annual, but the title on the cover says "The Self Publisher Magazine". The little sketch in the bottom left hand corner of the cover that says 'By Chester Brown & Dave Sim" and it turns into a story that shows up in the World Tour Book which came out in 1995. The same sketch, more fleshed out as a fish on a hook, even shows up on the cover to the World Tour Book.
Bits and pieces like these show up throughout the notebooks. Ideas of sketches, comics and miscellany that didn't make the cut. Or perhaps did, and I just haven't found them in my years of searching. If you've seen some of these as 'finished product', then please let me know!